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Ontario Parks FAQs

  • Question: Where can I find information on beach closings, boil water advisories, and fire bans?
  • Answer: Beach advisories, boil water advisories and fire ban alerts can be found at www.ontarioparks.com/alerts

  • Question: How old do you have to be to reserve and occupy a campsite without an adult?
  • Answer: You must be at least 16 years of age to reserve and occupy a campsite without adult supervision, provided that all occupants are 16 years of age or older. If a member of your camping party is under the age of 16, you must have at least one person 18 years of age or older occupying the site

  • Question: Is alcohol permitted within Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: Alcohol is permitted within provincial parks except during scheduled alcohol bans. Alcohol must remain on your designated campsite at all times. For the dates of alcohol bans, please consult the Reservation Rules and Policies under ‘All Reservations’ at http://www.ontarioparks.com/reservations/

  • Question: Can I use Cannabis in provincial parks?
  • Answer:

    Several pieces of legislation apply in Ontario’s provincial parks such as the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, the Liquor Licence Act and the Highway Traffic Act. The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 contains rules about tobacco and cannabis and the Cannabis Control Act, 2017 contains rules about cannabis which apply in provincial parks.

    In Ontario and Ontario’s provincial parks, smoking tobacco or cannabis, or using an electronic cigarette (vaping) is not permitted in areas including buildings; children’s playgrounds and 20 metres around the playground; or sporting areas such as volleyball and beach volleyball areas, designated swimming areas, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and 20 metres around the sporting or spectator areas.

    Smoking tobacco or cannabis, or using an electronic cigarette (vaping), is permitted on a registered campsite in a provincial park.

    For more information about Ontario’s rules for recreational cannabis use, please visit www.ontario.ca/cannabis.

  • Question: What are the check-in and check-out times at Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: For Car Camping, check-in time is 2 p.m. on the day of arrival. Campers must check-out before 2 p.m. on their day of departure. The latest arrival time is 8 a.m. following the scheduled day of arrival. For Roofed Accommodations, please refer to your confirmation letter for specific check in/out times
  • Question: Can I arrive at the park after hours for car camping?
  • Answer: Yes. If you arrive after the park office is closed, you may proceed directly to your campsite and quietly set up your campsite so as not to disturb other campers. Please check-in at the park office the following morning when it opens. If you plan to arrive after 8:00 a.m. on the second day of your reservation, please notify the park in advance.

  • Question:

    What’s open and what’s closed at Ontario Parks?

  • Answer:
    The following is a list of what recreational activities and facilities will be opening soon at provincial parks in regions as we enter Stage 2 of reopening the province:

    Here is what is open now:
    • most backcountry camping
    • most campground camping
    • most seasonal camping programs
    • most roofed accommodations
    • most washrooms facilities
    • day use areas
    • beaches, as maintenance and water testing are completed
    • trails
    • boat launches
    • paddling
    • drinking water
    • trailer sanitation stations
    • off-leash pet areas
    • some park stores
    • some rentals

    Here is what is not available yet:
    • playgrounds/sports fields
    • visitor centres

    Here is what will not be available for this season:
    • showers
    • laundry facilities
    • group camping
    • picnic shelter rentals
    • Swimming pools

    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

    Safety of our visitors and staff is always our top priority. We will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select provincial parks.

    This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations. You may notice that day use parking areas will not be as full, or some campsites will remain empty during your stay.

    Ministry officers will be present in provincial parks to provide information, assist with emergencies and enforce provincial park rules and regulations. Additionally, these areas may be patrolled by local police or other enforcement agencies.

    As more activities and facilities begin to open over the next few weeks, we encourage visitors to click on the “Parks” drop down menu to view the Facilities and Activities icons to see what’s available at the park you wish to visit.

  • Question:

    How do I know what facilities or activities are available at the operating provincial park I wish to visit?

  • Answer:
    To find out what is available at the park you wish to visit please click on the “Parks” drop down menu at www.ontarioparks.com to view the Facilities and Activities icons.

  • Question:

    Can I still apply for a seasonal campsite this season? How were campers selected for the 2020 camping program?

  • Answer:
    No, applications for the 2020 season were only accepted between September 1 to September 30, 2019. Successful applicants were notified after September 30, 2019.

  • Question:

    Why won’t showers or laundry facilities be open this season?

  • Answer:
    The health and well-being of visitors and staff will always be our number one priority as we decide how and when to open parks, facilities and services. At this time, Ontario Parks is unable guarantee the required level of cleanliness and disinfection of showers or laundry facilities. Our efforts will be focused on ensuring washrooms and high traffic public areas are thoroughly cleaned and maintained. For more information on protocols for camping without showers read our blog article, what to do when showers are closed.

  • Question:

    Why isn’t the day use fee reduced if not all facilities and services are open yet?

  • Answer:
    All fees collected go directly back to supporting the operation and maintenance of provincial parks. We are actively working as quickly as we can to offer as many facilities and services as possible.

  • Question:

    Do I need a reservation to go camping in Ontario Parks?

  • Answer:
    Ontario Parks is strongly recommending that visitors make advanced reservations to limit contact during transactions and campsites may be limited and not guaranteed upon arrival without a reservation.

    Reservations can be made two ways:
    1. Online at reservations.ontarioparks.com, or
    2. By phone at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) - open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 363 days a year

  • Question:

    How do I check in for my camping reservation?

  • Answer:
    All reservation holders will receive a reminder email seven days in advance of their arrival that will provide direction for the check-in process.

  • Question:

    What do I need to keep with me as proof of registration when I am using the backcountry?

  • Answer:
    Campers who are able to reserve and register online are responsible for having an electronic or printed copy of their permit with them when in the park. A copy of the vehicle permit must be displayed on the dash of your vehicle when parked within a designated areas of an operating provincial park.

  • Question:

    Are there any restrictions for campground or backcountry camping due to Ontario’s current restrictions? What are the rules for camping?

  • Answer:
    No more than six people can occupy a campground camping site, and no more than nine people at a backcountry campsite with the exception of six people in backcountry campsite at Bon Echo, Charleston Lake, Frontenac and Killarney hiking trail.

    All other rules for camping apply. Please visit Reservation Rules for more information.

  • Question:

    I already cancelled my reservation. Now that camping is allowed, can I keep that reservation?

  • Answer:
    No. Unfortunately, once a reservation has been cancelled it cannot be reinstated. You will need to make a new reservation either online reservations.ontarioparks.com or by contacting the Ontario Parks Reservations Call Centre at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • Question:

    I have a reservation in June and early July for a roofed accommodation, is my reservation going to be cancelled?

  • Answer:
    Reservations for arrivals up to and including July 6 for roofed accommodations will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty. There is no need for you to contact Ontario Parks to receive your refund.

    Please allow up to ten business days for your refund to appear on your credit card statement. Please check directly with the park regarding any existing reservations.

  • Question:

    I have a reservation for group camping, is my reservation going to be cancelled?

  • Answer:
    Yes. To reduce overcrowding and promote physical distancing, group camping will not be available for reservation this season. We will be extending the closure of group camping until September 7, 2020. Reservations for arrivals up to and including the extended closure date for group camping will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty.

    There is no need for you to contact Ontario Parks to receive your refund. Please allow up to ten business days for your refund to appear on your credit card statement. Please check directly with the park regarding any existing reservations.

  • Question:

    Can I make a change to my reservation without incurring a change fee?

  • Answer:
    Yes, Ontario Parks is offering free changes to your 2020 reservations, depending on availability. If another date or location is unavailable, Ontario Parks is offering penalty-free cancellations.

    If you wish to make a change to your reservation online, please log in to your reservation account at reservations.ontarioparks.com.

  • Question:

    Can I make a future reservation for the 2020 camping season?

  • Answer:
    Yes, however, Ontario Parks will continue to monitor reservation bookings and may need to limit the number of reservations available. Please be aware that we will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in our buildings and during busy visitation times.

    Reservations can be made two ways:
    1. Online at reservations.ontarioparks.com,
    2. By phone at 1-888-668-PARK (7275) - open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time

  • Question:

    Will my picnic shelter reservation be cancelled?

  • Answer:
    Yes. To reduce overcrowding and promote physical distancing, picnic shelters will not be available for reservation this season. Reservations for picnic shelters arriving up to and including September 7, 2020 will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty.

    There is no need for you to contact Ontario Parks to receive your refund. Please allow up to ten business days for your refund to appear on your credit card statement. Please check directly with the park regarding any existing reservations.

  • Question:

    What’s the difference between a non-operating park and an operating park?

  • Answer:
    Non-operating provincial parks offer limited recreational experiences, fewer facilities and generally no dedicated staff or fee collection. Operating parks offer a variety of services and facilities, such as campground camping, roofed accommodations, washrooms, and discovery programs and charge fees.

    Please visit the Park Locator page at Park Locator to find a provincial park near you.

  • Question:

    Can we visit with our friends on their campsite?

  • Answer:
    Only six people can stay on a single campsite, but you’re welcome to gather for a campfire. Please follow provincial guidelines around social distancing and group size: www.ontario.ca/page/framework-reopening-our-province-stage-2#section-1.

  • Question:

    How you plan to handle physical distancing in the bathrooms?

  • Answer:
    We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks, and continue to follow all of the public health advice, including physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a may be challenging or not possible, washing hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and if you are worried you may have COVID-19, get tested.

    Occupancy restrictions may be posted on comfort stations to limit the number of people permitted to enter the building at one time.

  • Question:

    What precautions will be put in place to keep your public washrooms clean?

  • Answer:
    Priority for cleaning and disinfection is placed on high-touch surfaces in public areas including washrooms and other shared facilities. These areas will be cleaned and disinfected twice per day at a minimum or more in higher use areas.

  • Question:

    How are you improving cleaning processes for Roofed Accommodations during COVID-19?

  • Answer:
    We are implementing appropriate cleaning procedures in our roofed accommodation units including priority for cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.

    To accommodate these changes, check-in/ check-out times may be modified, and some amenities may not be available (e.g., kettles, dishes and linens) at some provincial parks. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided with additional information in advance of their arrival date.

  • Question:

    Why are some Roofed Accommodations not opening?

  • Answer:
    We will be implementing measures to ensure sufficient time for cleaning procedures during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for roofed accommodations in select provincial parks.

  • Question:

    Are there any changes to the check-in Procedures for Roofed Accommodations?

  • Answer:
    Check-in / check-out times may be modified to accommodate cleaning procedures. All reservation holders will be contacted and provided with additional information in advance of their arrival date.

  • Question:

    Can I bring my pet with me to stay in roofed accommodation?

  • Answer:
    Yes, pet friendly accommodations will be available this season.

  • Question:

    Why are you suspending sales through the Ontario Parks Online Store?

  • Answer:
    Due to the temporary closure of all Ontario Parks offices, ministry staff currently do not have access to the product inventory of seasonal permits, maps and physical gift cards to fulfill the orders.

    Printable eGift cards will continue to be available through the Online Store.

    In order to keep Ontarians safe, our government is working to slowly phase-in the opening of Ontario Parks — taking a gradual approach to the introduction of activities and services that prioritizes the health of visitors and staff.

  • Question:

    What if I placed an online order for a Seasonal Day Use Vehicle Permit, paddle route map or gift card and I haven’t received it yet?

  • Answer:
    If you purchased a 2020 Summer or 2020/21 Annual vehicle permit, paddle route map or gift cards through the Ontario Parks Online Store and have not received your order, you will receive an email with more information. Customers will have two options:

    • Cancel your order for a full refund that will be provided automatically or;

    • Have the order shipped to you once Ontario Parks resumes regular operations.



  • Question:

    Can I return my 2020 Seasonal Day Use Vehicle Permit for a full refund?

  • Answer:
    Yes. We are offering full refunds for a 2020 Summer or 2020/2021 Annual day use vehicle permit up to July 26, 2020.

    You can return your permit by mail. Please follow the instructions for submitting a refund request form and mail your seasonal permit and the completed refund request form to:

    Ontario Parks Revenue Administration Office
    Refund Request
    P.O. Box 2178
    Orillia, Ontario
    L2V 6S1

    Please allow 4 to 6 weeks to process the refund after Ontario Parks resumes regular operations.

    If you have any questions regarding your order or the status of your refund, please reach out to us via our contact page, select Online Store purchase as the topic.

    Please continue to visit OntarioParks.com and Ontario Parks social media channels for the most up-to-date information and park opening dates.

  • Question:

    Why will it take 4-6 weeks after Ontario Parks resumes full operations to process my refund?

  • Answer:
    Due to the high volume of refunds, please allow longer than normal time to process the refunds. We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.

  • Question:

    How long will you extend my permit due to the closure?

  • Answer:
    For visitors who have purchased and received either a 2020 Summer or 2020/21 Annual Seasonal Vehicle Permit, Ontario Parks will extend the expiry date of the seasonal vehicle permit for the full length of the park closure period. When parks are fully operational, the extension will begin to apply.

    That means for each month Ontario Parks is not fully operational, a full month will be added to the end date of the Summer and Annual Seasonal Vehicle Permit. No further action is required; this will be applied automatically.

  • Question:

    The government just announced that parks will begin to slowly open. Will the online store still be closed?

  • Answer:
    Yes, the store remains closed.

    Additionally, due to the temporary closure of all Ontario Parks offices, ministry staff currently do not have access to the product inventory of seasonal permits, maps and physical gift cards to fulfill the orders.

    In order to keep Ontarians safe, our government is working to slowly phase-in the opening of Ontario Parks — taking a gradual approach to the introduction of activities and services that prioritizes the health of visitors and staff.

    During the COVID-19 outbreak, we will be continually assessing our approach and may need to make adjustments to services depending on the advice of health experts.

  • Question:

    Does the newly announced “limited recreational day use” count towards the extended expiry date period?

  • Answer:
    No, the access to provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited recreational day-use activities is not part of the extended expiry period. When parks are fully operational, the extension will begin to apply.

  • Question: Does Ontario Parks offer any discounts on park fees and what identification is required?
  • Answer: Ontario Parks offers discounts on day-use and camping fees to Ontario residents aged 65 and over and Ontario residents who possess a CNIB identity card or Ministry of Transportation accessible parking permit. When making a telephone reservation, please advise the call-centre agents of your eligibility for a discount. You will be required to show proof of your eligibility when you arrive at the park. Reduced campground rates apply to Ontario senior citizens and their spouse and any other persons in the same party who occupy the campsite. For interior camping or group camping facilities, reduced rates only apply to seniors and their spouse.

    Veterans and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who reside in Ontario, are eligible to enjoy free, weekday (Monday to Friday), day use in provincial parks. Upon arrival to a provincial park, please present a valid Canadian Armed Forces identification card (i.e., Canadian Armed Forces Veteran’s Service Card, Canadian Forces Identification Card or Record of Service Card) and proof of Ontario residency with photo identification (i.e., valid Ontario driver’s licence with photo, valid Ontario Health Card with photo, valid Ontario Photo Card, etc.)

  • Question: Are pets allowed in Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: Please refer to our “Dogs at Ontario Parks” webpage for everything you need to know about bringing your dog to the park.

  • Question: Can I operate my drone (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) in a provincial park?
  • Answer:

    A Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, more commonly referred to as a drone, is an aircraft. Aircraft (including drones) cannot be taken into or operated in a provincial park without authorization from the park superintendent. If the park superintendent authorizes the operation of a drone, the drone pilot must:

    • Follow the rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations including Part IX – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
    • Comply with park regulations under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006 (PPCRA) including but not limited to:
      • Obtaining a valid provincial park permit
      • Obtaining an aircraft landing authorization
      • Ensuring drone operation does not disturb other persons, make excessive noise, chase or harass wildlife, cause damage to Crown property or vegetation
    • Follow all other laws including but not limited to:
     

    Transport Canada is responsible for the regulation of drones and more information is available by following this link: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety.html

  • Question: How can I apply for a summer job or career with Ontario Parks?
  • Answer: Please refer to the careers section of our website.

  • Question: Where can I find information on park fees?
  • Answer: Follow this link to view camping fees. http://www.ontarioparks.com/fees/camping/2020. Other categories of fees can be found by using the navigation dropdown menu at the top of each webpage to select the category of fees. On mobile and tablet devices use the menu button on the top right side of each webpage to expose the navigation menu.

  • Question: Can I use a generator in an Ontario Park?
  • Answer: The use of a generator is permitted provided that campers respect the “No Excessive Noise” rule.

  • Question: Where can I find information on group camping?
  • Answer: You can find information on group camping by clicking the "Camping" tab on each park webpage and look for the group camping section. If group camping is not listed the park does not have group camping facilities. Group campsite reservations for most parks can only be made by calling the park directly. As a pilot project, group campsite reservations for 12 southwestern parks can now be made by contacting the Ontario Parks Call Centre. Check this list of participating parks.

  • Question: Where can I get a campground map?
  • Answer: Campground maps are available on-line for all parks that are part of the reservation system. Simply go to the individual parks’ web-pages using the Park Locator and click on the map icon or go to the reservation page and select a park there. For parks that are not part of the reservation system, please contact the park directly to obtain a campground map.

  • Question: How many people are allowed on a car-camping site?
  • Answer: No more than six people can occupy a campground campsite unless these people comprise a single-family unit consisting of parents, and their children.
  • Question: How many people are allowed on an interior (backcountry) site?
  • Answer: Most parks with backcountry or interior campsites allow up to nine persons per site, with the exception of Frontenac, Killarney (hiking trail), Bon Echo and Charleston Lake. Each of these parks only allows six persons per backcountry or interior site.

  • Question: On what dates do parks open and close?
  • Answer: Some parks are open year round. Other parks open and close on different dates throughout the year depending on their location. Follow this link to find out the opening and closing dates for your favourite park.

  • Question: Can I submit photographs that I’ve taken of parks to www.ontarioparks.com?
  • Answer: Currently, we are not accepting photos for the website but we thank you for offering.

  • Question: Can I spread the ashes of a loved one in provincial parks?
  • Answer:

    Ontario Parks recognizes that the practice of scattering cremated remains is an important part of the religious beliefs of many families. Anyone who wishes to scatter the cremated remains of a loved one can do so in Ontario’s provincial parks on both land and in water.

    Who do I contact?

    It is recommended that you contact the Park Superintendent in advance to arrange a suitable, accessible location within the park. Provincial parks that have a designated site are:

    Bronte Creek
    Phone: 905.827.6911f

    Darlington
    Phone: 905.436.2036

    Earl Rowe
    Phone: 705.435.0847

    Forks of the Credit
    Phone: 705.435.0847

    Rideau River
    Phone: 613.258.2740

    As a reminder, all day-use visitors entering an Ontario provincial park must purchase a permit which allows the vehicle and its occupants to be in the park between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

    What do I need to know?

    • The location where you scattered ashes may not be accessible in the future
    • Natural vegetation (i.e. plants, trees) or natural objects in the park should not be cut, planted or removed
    • Plastic flowers, written notes or physical structures should not remain at the site
    • If necessary, as part of the ceremony, only a small handful of organic material such as leaves and flowers should be scattered
    • Offerings such as coins, clothing or jewellery should not be placed in waterways or left at the site
    • To minimize your environmental impact please stay on designated trails and roadways
    • Respect other park visitors and choose a site away from public swimming areas, docks and boat launches
    • Please recycle plastic bags and wrappers
    • All fruit should be eaten or placed in the garbage

    Environmental Responsibility

    Ontario’s provincial parks are dedicated to the people of Ontario and to visitors, for their inspiration, spiritual, education, health and recreational enjoyment – with the intention that these areas be managed to protect provincially significant natural and cultural features and preserved for future generations.

    Restrictions

    The Funeral Burial and Cremation Services Act prohibits the interment (burial) of human remains, including urns (containing ashes) except in a registered and operating cemetery.

  • Question: Do any of your parks offer radio-free campgrounds?
  • Answer: Select campground areas in 22 parks, including Arrowhead, Bon Echo, Killbear, and Presqu'ile and four campground areas in Algonquin offer radio-free camping. Parks that offer radio-free camping are listed in the Parks Guide.

  • Question: I have tried to make a reservation 5 months in advance at my favourite park. Every campsite is reserved. How can this be?
  • Answer: You can reserve a campsite up to five months in advance of the day of your arrival and you can book a site for up to 23 days. Therefore, some customers may have reserved earlier than you for extended stays so when you go in to book, the sites are already reserved. You may want to check again closer to your date of arrival to see if any sites are available due to cancellations.
  • Question: Where can I find all of the reservation rules and policies?
  • Answer: Please go to http://www.ontarioparks.com/reservations and select the links under 'Reservation Rules and Policies'.
  • Question: When I call the 1-888-668-7275 reservation line I get a busy signal. Why am I not placed on hold?
  • Answer: You will receive this message if all agents are busy serving customers, and the wait queue is full as well.
  • Question: Can I camp with a tent on a site designated for a trailer?
  • Answer: Yes you may. The equipment designation for campsites reflects the largest equipment that will fit on the site – it is always permissible to place smaller equipment on the site. However, there are a few large trailer sites that include in their site description “not suitable for tents” – these sites lack tent pads, and should only be booked by trailers or motorhomes. When you are making an internet reservation, you must enter your equipment type. You may still choose to reserve a different size of site; however, a pop-up window will warn you that there is a mismatch of equipment type. Please make sure your equipment type will fit on the site before clicking ‘ok’ and proceeding with your reservation.

  • Question: Where can I get information about special events or attractions close to the provincial park I'm planning to visit?
  • Answer: You can get additional information about tourism in Ontario by contacting 1-800-ONTARIO or www.ontariotravel.net. A provincial road map is also available from 1-800-ONTARIO.

  • Question: How many vehicles can I have on my site?
  • Answer: The fee for one vehicle is included in your campsite permit - all other vehicles must purchase an "Additional Vehicle Permit" at the time of registration. The number of additional vehicles permitted on a campsite is limited by the park and vehicles may have to be parked in a separate designated "parking lot" located away from your campsite. Consult the ‘site description’ on the Reservations website to find out how many vehicles can be parked on-site.

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Ontario Parks
300 Water Street
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7